I have a few days off and am caught up with school. Since this is a rare event, I decided to experiment in the kitchen a little and decided, as a nod to the holiday, to make a cranberry curd pie that I saw a recipe for. When I shared it with Val, she also got excited by it, but I ended up making it first. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but close enough that I will still say it is the NYT recipe.
I started with the basic ingredients – cranberries, oranges and sugar. Since I love clementines and they are now in season, I have a bag of the on the counter, so I used two for this recipe. I picked up some beautiful cranberries at the store and cooked the zest and juice of the clementines with the cranberries and some sugar to make the base of the curd. One review said to not cook them down much, but I was fussing with the pie crust and ended up cooking it a little long. It still worked.
I used the mesh sieve method and strained the juice to make a really smooth curd. Here is where things started to get tricky. It took a while to strain the cranberry mixture. Probably more time than the author of the recipe intended, so it was pretty much room temperature when I finished. This does not lend itself to incorporating butter into the curd, so I returned it to the stove and stirred in the butter, one pat at a time, over low heat. It worked. The butter didn’t melt, but it did incorporate into the curd just fine. I took it off the heat, stirred a little more then added the eggs. The whole thing went into an oil based crust that I made (decided to skip the rice flour crust as I couldn’t find hazelnuts anyway) and then I baked it – slightly longer than there recipe said, but it wasn’t setting so an extra three minutes were in order. I made some whipped cream (new secret for whipped cream – use powdered sugar instead of regular granulated sugar. Super smooth and it helps stabilize the peaks) for the top and that was that. My arm hurt after the straining part, but still easier than the French Silk pie.
The results were delicious and I don’t say something I made was really good often. I usually find fault with it, but I can’t really find fault with this pie. Yes, it was suppose to be a tart, but I don’t have a tart pan. Yes, it should have a different crust, but this one worked out fine. Yes, it could have been a little fuller, but it didn’t need to be fuller. With this pie you get the tart of the cranberry, an undertone of lemon (without any lemon in the pie) and a clean flavor that is really nice after a meal. This probably won’t replace cranberry sauce at the holiday table, but it should. It really should.
On the pet front … Tigger, Leia and Arthas are all doing well. Arthas is up to two miles for his morning walk, and he is starting to ask to go for walks. He doesn’t bounce around like Jessie did, but he goes to the front door or to where my shoes are and he gets a little excited when he hears his leash. He is getting better with the cats, and they with him. We had a point of contention recently where Leia was on the couch when he wanted to go to sleep, but other than that, they are wonderful. I stopped by the shelter to donate some food I had gotten for Gracie (the other two won’t eat it) and they were super happy to see how well he is doing. As one volunteer put it, he just needed a chance to be a dog.
They really are good babies. I still miss Jessie and Gracie and Gracie’s loss is still really raw, but we are getting there. Tigger has become very affectionate recently and Leia continues to be the puppy cat she is – greeting us at the door, laying on laps etc.
Recipe Cranberry Curd Pie:
- 12 oz. cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- juice and zest of one orange (or two clementines)
- 1 stick (4 oz) butter, room temperature
- 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
Use your favorite pie crust – it will be fine. I pre-baked mine for ten minutes, just to set it.
Combine the cranberries, sugar and orange (zest and juice) into a sauce pan and cook on medium heat until cranberries pop and begin to break down. Stir often to prevent sugar from burning.
Preheat oven to 350 if not already heated from the pie crust.
Once cooked down, strain the mixture through a sieve or use a blender/immersion blender, to puree. If not warm after straining, return to heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, then add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. If mixture is hot, temper the cranberry mixture into the eggs then add eggs into cranberry curd and stir well to combine. (I didn’t temper here because the cranberries were fairly cool at this stage) Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for ten plus minutes to set. I cooked mine for thirteen minutes until the outer curd was set, then let it cool on the stove to set the rest of the curd.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon (heaping) powdered sugar
Mix cream and vanilla together and beat with mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and continue mixing until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill until ready to serve.